The impeachment of Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State could be fast-tracked and concluded within 10 days, a member of the house of assembly has told TheCable.
The state?s acting chief judge, Justice Ambrose Mammadi, on Friday finally set up a panel of seven persons to investigate the allegations of misconduct and corruption against Nyako by the state?s lawmakers after surmounting legal fireworks. The panel will be inaugurated on Monday and will commence sitting immediately, TheCable learnt.
According to Section 188 of the 1999 constitution, the panel has three months to investigate the allegations, during which Nyako, who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) last year, will be allowed to defend himself. ?The constitution only gave a limit of three months. The panel does not have to sit for three months,? the lawmaker said.
He said in previous impeachments in the country, ?no panel ever sat for three months? some sat for only two days?. The lawmaker, who declined to be named because he has ?more than a passing interest? in the crisis, said as long as the governor is allowed to defend himself, ?the law has been obeyed?. ?All you need do is look at the figures.
There are 25 members in the house and 20 are moving for Nyako?s impeachment. That is more than two-thirds of the house. Nyako is gone for good,? he said, maintaining that it is too late to save him. The freezing of the accounts of the state by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is seen as a deadly blow to Nyako?s bid to stave off the impeachment move. With no access to money, his ability to lobby the lawmakers is curtailed.
The deputy governor, Mr. Bala James Ngilari, is also expected to be impeached along with Nyako, even though he remained in the PDP after Nyako?s defection and is believed to be close to President Goodluck Jonathan. If both are impeached, the speaker of the house of assembly, Alhaji Ahmadu Fintiri, will be acting governor for a period of three months during which a fresh governorship election will be conducted.
Nyako said on Friday that Jonathan does not have a hand in the impeachment move ? in what is seen as an olive branch from the embattled governor. He had been at loggerheads with Jonathan for years and recently wrote a memo to northern governors alleging that the federal government was prosecuting a genocide against northerners.
Nyako is now blaming some ?Abuja-based politicians? for his ordeal, possibly referring to the former PDP chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, whom he had a serious political disagreement with. Tukur is believed to be working for his son, Awwal, to become the next governor of the state, while Nyako was reportedly positioning his own son, Abdul?Aziz.
This face-off led to a breakdown in their relationship, with Nyako moving to APC and Tukur losing his chairmanship of PDP after a tumult in the party involving several other governors. In this democratic dispensation, five governors have been impeached: Joshua Dariye (Plateau), Rashidi Ladoja (Oyo), DSP Alamieyeseigha (Bayelsa), Ayo Fayose (Ekiti) and Peter Obi (Anambra). However, the Supreme Court overruled the lawmakers in Oyo, Plateau and Anambra for not following due process. ?
Under section 188 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, outlined here are the processes for the removal of the governor or the deputy.
Step 1: A notice of any allegation in writing is signed by not less than one-third of the members of the house of assembly stating that the holder of such office is guilty of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office, detailed particulars of which shall be specified. Gross misconduct is whatever is so described ?in the opinion of the house?.
Step 2: The speaker of the house of assembly shall, within seven days of the receipt of the notice, cause a copy of the notice to be served on the holder of the office and on each member of the house of assembly, and shall also cause any statement made in reply to the allegation by the holder of the office to be served on each member of the house of assembly.
Step 3: Within 14 days of the presentation of the notice to the speaker of the house of assembly (whether or not any statement was made by the holder of the office in reply to the allegation contained in the notice), the house of assembly shall resolve by motion, without any debate, whether or not the allegation shall be investigated.?A motion of the house of assembly that the allegation be investigated shall not be declared as having been passed unless it is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of the house of assembly.
Step 4: Within seven days of the passing of the?motion, the chief judge of the state shall, at the request of the speaker of the house of assembly, appoint a panel of seven persons to investigate the allegation.
Step 5: The holder of an office whose conduct is being investigated under this section shall have the right to defend himself in person or be represented before the panel by a legal practitioner of his own choice.
Step 6: A panel appointed under this section shall within three months of its appointment report its findings to the house of assembly.
Step 7: Where the panel reports to the house of assembly that the allegation has not been proved, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter BUT?where the report of the panel is that the allegation against the holder of the office has been proved, then within 14?days of the receipt of the report, the house of assembly shall consider the report, and if by a resolution of the house of assembly supported by not less than two-thirds majority of all its members, the report of the panel is adopted, then the holder of the office shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption of the report.